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A senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the leader has refused an offer to write an opinion piece for the New York Times, accusing the paper's opinion pages of anti-Israel bias.

The unusual public refusal appears to reflect the hardline Israeli government's increasingly prickly relations with much of the outside world.

In a letter to the Times published in The Jerusalem Post website, Netanyahu adviser Ron Dermer says the prime minister decided to "respectfully decline" penning an opinion piece. He says past op-ed articles in the Times have "vilified" Israel and "constantly distort the positions of our government."

The letter was confirmed as authentic by an official in the prime minister's office.